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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  December 22, 2010 3:00am-4:00am EST

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>> you can make more money on unemployment than you can going down and getting one of those jobs. >> of course, unemployment benefits aren't the only problem. deficit, mortgages, the economy has become a major threat to the american way of life. it has a strong republican. what do you suggest we do? >> waterboard the economy. >> uh-huh. well, we are almost out of time, mrs. angle -- or should i say senator-elect angle. in fact, this interview went so well i can't believe i'm saying this on television, but sharron angle, i love you. >> i love you, too. >> "countdown's" favorites air thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. that's december 21. i'm chris hayes in for keith olbermann. you can see my work at thenation.com. republican death panels. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews down in washington. leading off tonight, republican death panels.
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good name for them, isn't it? how else do you describe the republican caucus in the senate? the leader, a proud killer of bills. all they do is kill things. and democratic presidencies, he hopes. their mission to destroy whatever gets in their way. they voted against the stimulus bill. against the health care bill. against financial regulation. their leader, dr. death himself, mitch mcconnell, now chortles with chilling delight about what he intends to do next year. here he is talking with politico and says -- and yet the public is encouraged by president obama's willingness to compromise. but how do you compromise with a taunting republican leader whose chief goal is to see you defeated? see your presidency dead in the gutter? yet, despite mcconnell's best efforts to oppose something because president obama supports it, the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty that has voted to pass. chalk up one more big win for the president in this lame duck session.
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plus, once again, the kinsley rule from the columnist michael kinsley. that is the rule that people get in the most trouble when they say what they believe. somewhere in mind, governor barbour remembers some good things. he said that about councils. today, he called the groups indefensible. the census numbers are out. republican red states gain and democratic blue states lost. we'll talk to the "hardball" strategists about how these changes changes the calculus for 2012. hispanic power in the southwest. it also certainly helps the state of florida, which has become a very, very important big and growing state. let me finish tonight with why people on the right are talking state's rights again. what's this talk about that in texas? even in virginia? what's afoot in these confederate states and what's this talk about? what's this battle they're cooking up? i want to know. we start with mitch mcconnell's latest threat against the
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democrats. david corn is washington bureau chief for mother jones and jonathan allen is with politico. i have never seen a character like this. he seems like a character that only charles dickens would have fully created. somewhere in there was scrooge, i think, or fagan. >> it's christmas season. he's showing lots of chutzpah here. they had 89 fill busters this past congress, which with was a record. they set a record. and he is out there saying, you know what, we are going to come back and do it all over again. he is showing a lot of hubris at a time. you just noted that the president on s.t.a.r.t., and also on don't ask, don't tell, just figured out how to peel off some of mitch mcconnell's republican allies to pass important legislation at the end of the lame duck session here. yet, mitch mcconnell coming out saying we are going to say, no, no, no all the way home like the
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three little pigs. >> i think it's vicious. >> let me ask jonathan, your thoughts. here's what i think is vicious. if you draw the line and say your party's going to vote in lockstep against everything the other side offers, you force the president's party, the democrats, to do everything party line themselves. they've got to go over to left. if they're lucky, they can put a short of center left together, but mainly the left. then they can attack it, kill it. so, they basically cut it off and then kill it. that strategy, unfortunately, works with voters. i'm not sure it works with good american history. your thoughts? >> well, look, in the 111th congress, that's what we saw happen with republicans. they said no. the elector rattle rewarded them with the majority in the senate. mitch mcconnell is the single most powerful member of congress. the biggest stick up here on capitol hill. that will continue into the next congress. when the president wanted to cut a deal on taxes, he put together a six-party talking group, and
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then went around them, cut a deal with mitch mcconnell. everybody knows it. the rules of the senate, the number of votes that mitch mcconnell has now and in the next congress and his own lit political abilities which should not be underestimated. this is a guy that really sees around corners, so this s.t.a.r.t. treaty notwithstanding, don't ask, don't tell notwithstanding, mitch mcconnell was able to strike a deal with the president that would have made george bush blush in ambition in terms of taxes. >> here's more of mcconnell in action, quote -- that reminded me of this scene from the movie "love actually" in a conversation between billy bob thornton -- >> there is one thing we should look at very close to my heart. >> i will give you anything you ask for, as long as it's not something i don't want to give. >> well that prickish comment from him is exactly seeming what the republican strategy is i will give you nothing unless it is what i want to give you and i don't think i'm going to give you much.
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>> can we remind mitch mcconnell that he's still in the minority? i think this is going to force barack obama. i think barack obama probably figures that come the next year or two, the act of legislating in washington may be over, that we may see the last hurrah with the tax cut deal, don't ask, don't tell and it's going to be a titanic battle between two political views. if mitch mcconnell keeps telling the american public we're not going to engage with this president unless he bends over and gives us what we want, and the president says, listen, these guys are blocking progress when we're facing hard times, that's the fight we're going to carry to the 2012 election.
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>> i've been following politics since i was a kid. i'm fanatical about history of this world, american politics especially, and i have to tell you, i have never heard a political leader say my purpose in life, i'm talking about the head of a senate body, is to destroy the presidency of the other party. he has said from day one, weeks or months ago, my goal in life is to destroy the obama presidency. get him out of there. in other words, that is my goal. not something else, not some philosophy, but to get him out of there. that's what he wants to do. i guess all these political parties would like to win the next election. they always have a convention. they name a nominee for president. i've never heard them put it this starkly, that the goal is to kill the other party. >> usually, we project such cynicism on politicians. it's not that bad of a thing if it's not his first priority. if his first priority is his constituents and his country, it's all right to want to beat the other guy. if he's going to sacrifice his constituents and his country in an effort, that's a bad thing. >> i think he's trying to replace dick cheney as the troll under the bridge. waiting for the the kid to cross the bridge and bites him on the ankle. in this case, he wants to drown
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him. here's mcconnell on floor. let's listen to this colloquy, we used to call it. >> our top concern should be the safety and security of our nation, not some politician's desire to declare a political victory and host a press conference before the first of the year. >> the facts are that this treaty is not being rushed. this treaty was delayed at the request of republicans. >> you know, the term" death panel" was cooked up by the former governor of alaska, but i think it fits the republican caucus better than anybody. here's a guy who wants to kill a nuclear arms treaty worked out with connivance and support of every republican state going back to doomsday, the beginning of our history. all support, a lot of republicans serve on arms
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services know it's a good treaty. it's safe, good for us and reduces nuclear warheads, et cetera. here's a guy in totally partisan terms, here's a way the screw the president. >> these guys are substituting good cheer for crankyness. put mccain into that. >> dickens. >> they are saying we don't care of the substance of matter. jonathan's right. this is what got them the majority in the house and what improves mcconnell's number in the senate. barack obama is going to have to find a way to make that the story, not the fact that they're attacking him, but to show they're not acting in the public good. >> i think they're going to replace the republican icon, the elephant, the mascot with a toad. is that what it's going to be? just somebody who is basically
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against -- >> i don't think the logo committee at the republican national committee is going to change the elephant for a toad. i think that's what got them the majority. the no, the killing of bills, standing in the way, but i think they do have a need to govern. i think we are seeing that in the lame duck congress. we're seeing that in this part of the productivity. >> give me the ideas, the positive ideas of the republican party. they want to kill health care. they want to kill -- they want to make sure taxes stay down, basically cash out of government. they want to reduce, reduce, reduce. what they want to do? why are they in washington? why did they run for office? >> i think they're in washington to reduce for sure. i think the american public wants to see cuts in spending. the question is, will the public
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go along with the concomitant revenue increases that are also needed to try to bring the budget into balance and get rid of deficits on an annual bases and i think that answer is still unclear. people want the government to spend more than it has and tax them less than it needs to keep afloat. that's the pure politics of it. even this tax deal did just that. >> except in a recession period like this, i think they're killing the republican party. >> we're still in an economic crisis. there's nothing they're saying that really responds to that. that may be what they're happy doing the next two years. >> i think they are a death panel right now. thank you, david corn, thank you, jonathan allen. happy holidays if i don't see you guys again. coming up, there's all this talk about state's rights, why do we keep hearing about succession from the governor of texas, about nullification from the attorney general of virginia? why did haley barbour go off about how great the white citizen's councils were? is there some sort of second childhood of the confederacy coming on here? latest example concerning states' rights. what's going on here? this is bigger than politics. what is it insurrection? "hardball" on msnbc, coming right back. pathetic. you call this a holiday party? we need to help. these people are under-indulgers, not enjoying the holidays!
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new polling from ppp finds the one question where sarah palin actually does well with democrats. the question, which republican do you want to win the republican nomination in 2012? they want somebody they can beat. democrats from iowa to wisconsin prefer palin as obama's challenger in 2012. 22% of ohio democrats chose palin. huckabee is second with 16. national polling suggest palin matches up weakest against president obama. palin can prove she knows the issues, that could change. i think these voters, these democrats want to see her up there so they can beat her. be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." in a magazine interview with "the weekly standard," governor barbour of mississippi remembered some good the white citizen's council did back in the civil rights days. democratic congressman benny thompson of mississippi and melissa harris perry is joining us now, an msnbc contributor and
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prince ton professor of politics in african-american studies. congressman, i want to give you the full opportunity to talk about the governor right now, but i want to first of all, give you a big quote of him before this is what he said in that "weekly standard" interview that got him into this mess. he said -- well, there he is saying they were certainly the better of two organizations. he paints them in a positive light. today, he says in a statement they're indefensible. what's your view of the role of white citizen's council in american history? >> i think it's clear, chris, the white citizen council is no better than klansmen in a business suit. they intimidated anybody who promoted segregation. any kind of effort was met with absolute hostility, so the governor's initial response was unfortunate. his opinion of the group does not bear out the facts, if you
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look at them. and i think his stepping back, saying i was wrong, is clearly because he was caught. >> you think that's what he thinks? >> well, it's his opinion, but the record does not reflect it. yazoo city, mississippi, was just like every other small mississippi town. they resisted any desegreation effort. the federal government had to sue every school district in the state of mississippi to desegregate. >> i think it's clear, chris, the white citizen council is no better than klansmen in a business suit. they intimidated anybody who promoted segregation. any kind of effort was met with absolute hostility, so the governor's initial response was unfortunate. his opinion of the group does not bear out the facts, if you look at them. and i think his stepping back, saying i was wrong, is clearly because he was caught. >> you think that's what he thinks? >> well, it's his opinion, but
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the record does not reflect it. yazoo city, mississippi, was just like every other small mississippi town. they resisted any desegreation effort. the federal government had to sue every school district in the state of mississippi to desegregate. it wasn't because of of local leaders. it was because federal government came to states like mississippi and said, look, you can't have separate and unequal schools. so, my governor's description of yazoo city, mississippi, during the '60s is totally inaccurate. >> let me go to the professor. professor harris perry, thanks for joining me, as always. i see something more nefarious here, more than maybe one person having badly placed nostalgia. getting back to the general thing, i've noticed a pattern on the right and we all grew up listening to it, i wasn't involved in the civil rights movement was successful. we americans honor people's rights and we find a way to honor them. we don't sit around and talk about state's rights. then we go to history books.
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we're hearing these words again. why are the republicans on the right talking like antebellum southerners? >> you know, chris, it is an incredibly instructive moment, barbour's sort of reflection on the ideas that the citizens councils were better than the clan. we ought to take him at his word there, that he's trying to draw distinction between the horror of physical violence and lynching, and this other thing, which he thinks is more benign. the point the congressman is making is it's not more benign. that economic terrorism, political terrorism, that the white citizen's council engaged in was just as profound as lynching. they took people's homes from them. they made sure people couldn't
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go to school if their parents were involved in organizing. these were real issues, but part of what happens in this rosy moment is that we look back and imagine people had different opinions. it was a violation of human rights. it then allows, i think, in this kind of contemporary context the idea that we disagree with the current pattern of the federal government, and, therefore, we have a right to stand in massive resistance in opposition to that government. that only happens because we have such historical forgetfulness about the nature of precisely what these good businessmen councils were all about. >> you're doing a good teaching moment here. let's take a look at something, we have this video. this should veb instructive to a lot of people, including me.
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here's a white citizen's council member back in birmingham in 1957 who's fighting integration. let's listen to him. >> we're going to have city commissioners and especially police commissioners who will say this to the federal government. your injunction is of no effect. your federal law has no affect in the city of birmingham. we will segregate the buses, and if necessary, i shall arrest every about who attempts to conspire put across -- >> wow. congressman,you remember that kind of voice, i guess? >> absolutely. as you know, i live in mississippi, be there all my life. those kind of voices i remember as a child. clearly, it was the federal government who stepped in and stopped state governments from discriminating against african-americans. >> so, is this talk about states rights we're hearing now, nullification, secession, all this babble, is it just another
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code for we don't like civil rights? congressman? >> well, you know, again, somehow, people are trying to rewrite history to say that this era in our past was not nearly as bad as people think it is. but clearly, you have to talk to people like myself who had to endure separate, unequal and all of that. >> why are they doing it? why are they doing it? >> well, i just think it's part of this revision theory in history, that somehow, southerners didn't do as bad toward african-americans as you think. and i just think that the governor, by stepping back now, saying well, i misspoke. this organization was a bad organization, is because now, msnbc and other stations have taken the cover off of him and he can't say these things and continue to be in the public venue. >> professor, is this really in reaction to barack obama being president? would this be going off if
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mccain was president this chatter this klatter of old talk? >> i don't think it would be going on if mccain were president, but it might be going on if say hillary clinton or even john edwards were president. it could be about having a democrat. but let me say one thing so we're really clear. there are some people right now with this kind of anti-federal government perspective who are doing nothing more than a kind of confederacy rising again narrative and it is about racism and white supremacy, but they're in a coalition with a bunch of good-hearted americans who are talking about antifederal government issues who don't think that. and so what i want to do is i want to speak to that part of the coalition and say the history of america tells you that when you start hearing people talk about this kind of separation, secession, nullification, state's rights, you are aiding and abetting the history of the worst kind. even if what you mean is i want lower taxes. i just want us to be careful about the coalitions in which we
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find ourselves because this is what the history of those kinds of state's right narratives are all about. >> i remember back in the '60s growing up, a lot of libertarians were cool, people thought goldwater was cool. you saw the rebel flags behind him. congressman, i looked at that poll we had last week and i'm proud of our polls because it teaches you stuff. there's a portion of the american people who hate michelle obama. now, i can't think of a reason in the world why you would hate this well-turned-out woman who's bringing up her kids well who's done nothing more really than fighting childhood obesity and looking out for her family. if a person hates her, i think it's race, it's tribal. what do you think? why would you hate michelle obama? >> no question about it. race is still a problem in this
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council. just like some people say the white citizens council was a neighborhood watch organization rather than a terrorist organization. we have a lot of things like this. >> you're a funny guy on a serious matter. thank you so much. that was a wisecrack, but i love it. just a neighborhood watch. thank you for joining us, congressman. professor as well. i hope you both have a merry christmas. up next, arlen specter has some tough talk to his party. he doesn't like the way the republican party has become lately. he said they have become rigid, moved to the right and got no room for moderates like him, obviously. he doesn't like it. he said so today on the senate floor. let's look at it on the sideshow. you are watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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back to "hardball." time for the sideshow. first, arlen specter bids adieu.
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there are farewell addresses on the senate floor that are all colleagues and then there's ones like today, which have live grenades in them. here it is. >> some pointers, compromise has become a dirty word. senators insist on ideological purity as a free condition. president reagan's big tap has been abandoned by the republican party. republican senators contribute to the primary defeats of, bennet, murkowski and castle. eating or defeating your own is a form of sophisticated cannibalism. >> wow, that's a good question to ask. do we want people who can vote independently, good question, or the old party line where you vote the british system or get
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kicked out? next, bill clinton wins ago. peta just named him the former president's person of the year. the group applauded clinton for his recent embrace of a vegan diet. i feel for the guy. i like being the sixth guy at five guys. now, for the big number. outgoing empire state governor david paterson has been fined for accepting those five tickets he took to the 2009 yankees world series game. how much will they cost the governor? thanking to the state's ethic board. you won't believe this. $62,125. 2,000 for the value of the tickets and 60,000 for accepting improperly. tonight's cautionary tale about taking things for nothing. up next, president obama's about to chalk up another big victory.
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the new s.t.a.r.t. nuclear treaty with russia now has the votes in the senate to pass. what it means for the president, the country, the planet. i think it's all good. you are watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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hope to ratify the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty between the united states and russia because it leaves our country with enough nuclear warheads to blow any attacker to kingdom come and because the president has committed to an $85 billion, ten-year plan to make sure that those weapons work. >> wow, welcome back to "hardball." that was republican senator
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lamar alexander of tennessee declaring his support for the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty today. ten have announced their support. we've got jean shaheen, senator from new hampshire, for joining us. thank you so much, senator. could you explain one of the mysteries of the u.s. senate to me? we thought it was the pearls of pauline. for weeks, we wondered whether this would pass. we thought it would be so partisan. then out of nowhere came all those republicans like the cavalry. where were they hiding and why were they so quiet? >> well, i'm not sure i can explain the mysteries of the senate to you, but i think this is the result of careful effort over the last several weeks and months to address the concerns that were raised by critics of the treaty and by a number of republicans. and as you point out, we've heard from senator alexander,
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from senator corker and several other republican senators in the last two days who have made strong statements in support of passage of this treaty, so that's very good news. i'm confident that we're going to have a strong bipartisan vote tomorrow. >> it seems to me that the members -- i don't want to make a value judgment, but -- well i will. the senators who knew the most about it voted for it. senator lugar, an expert on arms. johnny isaacson from georgia. bob corker from tennessee. seems like their education on their committees was helpful in helping them make a case for it. >> well, that's right. we had 12 hearings in the foreign relations committee. over 900 have been posted by senators to the administration and answered. i think that those answers and the witness testimony, the
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number of people in the foreign policy and national security and military establishment, both democrat and republican who have come out for this treaty, have really answered the questions of the critics in a way that i think has gotten agreement that passing new s.t.a.r.t. is in the best interest of the country. >> i'm older than you, senator, and howard fineman will be here in a minute, some of us remember what it was like to hide under our school desks to prepare for -- >> i remember that, too. >> -- to prepare for a nuclear attack. speak to us as boomers, what does this mean in terms of a nuclear exchange between us and the russians? >> about 95% of nuclear weapons are controlled by the united states and russia. it means that we are voluntarily reducing those numbers of weapons. it means we're going to have onsite inspections. we've been over a year now without inspectors on the ground in russia, gathering intelligence about what's happening there. it is also important, as we think about addressing loose materiel or loose nukes, so to speak.
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getting into the hands of terrorists. all of us who remember the cold war days when we got under our desk, it's good news to see this leadership from the united states and from russia. >> thank you so much. merry christmas. let's turn to msnbc analyst, howard fineman. he's with the "huffington post" now and a senior msnbc analyst rarely do you have a vote on the senate floor that is life or death. i mean, we're past the cold war. what do you think it meant politically? >> it's no longer under the desk thing. now the common fear of loose nukes. we're at one with them on that and that's something lugar has made his life's calling. he carries a lot of weight
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there. number two, the administration did a very good job of getting the pentagon, the joint chiefs of staff and the military people behind them. if there had been division -- >> so getting mullen out -- >> this is sort of a going away present from bob gates, the head of the defense department, republican, to the democratic president saying, let me help you do this. john kerry, also. >> is he leaving, gates? >> i think he's going to leave, sure, after the turn of the year. >> senator clinton going to be the new defense chief? >> i don't know about that let me also mention, senator john kerry, who was a presidential candidate in '04, senator shaheen said, 900 question, the dogged pursuit of a treaty really suited kerry talents. >> let's talk about brent scowcroft, former security
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adviser for george herbert walker bush. he offered this for why republicans were opposed to s.t.a.r.t. he was so tough on the critics of this by saying the only reason you could be against it is to help the republicans. >> mitch mcconnell, in some situations, likes to play the role of statesman. in this situation, he said, well, we don't have to line up and give the president a political victory. >> how small? >> he basically said it was politics. >> let me ask you about the republican party. that was a rare moment. i'm going to go down the list here of people who voted with this against their party leader. lamar alexander, ran for president. bob bennet.
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scott brown, wants to get re-elected in massachusetts. cochran of the south and corker from tennessee, isaacson from georgia. voinivich from ohio. a lot of republicans. they stood up against their leaders and say, no i want nuclear peace. >> that is the very definition of the non tea party. that gallery of faces, that's not the tea party crowd. but interestingly, this was also not a high agenda item for the tea party. >> they wouldn't try to knock a senator off for voting for nuclear peace? >> i attended a lot of tea party rallies. i read their literature. stopping the s.t.a.r.t. treaty, it was never high on their agenda. cutting spending and cutting taxes and reducing the role of government of the united states is. >> i'm glad to see nuclear war is not on the agenda of the tea party. thank you, howard fineman have a happy holidays, buddy. we are friends by the way. up next, census numbers are out and as a country, we keep moving out of the northeast. it's getting hallowed out up north. people are leaving the midwest, the northeast.
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guess where they're going? down where it's warm in the wintertime, the south and southwest. in political terms, it's the red states they're gaining and the blue states that are losing. what's this going to do to 2012? this is fascinating stuff. this is "hardball" on msnbc. 522 bucks -- that's what people save, on average, when they call me to switch to esurance. if they switch to esurance online, they could save 522 clams. i could save 'em 522 smackers. you talkin' dough? bread. benjamins? scratch. greenbacks. moolah. cheddar. simoleons. don't try to out-save me. he's "the saver." i know he's "the saver." [ female announcer ] you could save 522 bucks. see for yourself at esurance. technology when you want it. people when you don't. can stop frequent heartburn before it begins? heartburn happens when stomach acid refluxes into the esophagus. prilosec otc uses a unique delayed-release system that protects the medicine as it passes through the stomach's tough acid.
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then it gets absorbed into the body, turning off many acid-producing pumps at the source. with just one pill a day, you get 24-hour heartburn protection all day and all night. prilosec otc. heartburn gone. power on. well, senators on both sides of the aisle are taking another stab at bipartisanship. saxby chambliss of georgia and mark warner of virginia are assemble ing 20 check these say will strive for moderation and embrace that dirty word in some
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republican circles. can't even use the word, compromise. the first goal, finding common ground on a long-term plan to tackle the nation's burgeoning deficit. well that is a good goal. "hardball" will be right back.
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>> out today and there's a clear -- a population shift in this country from the northeast to the midwest to the south and southwest. that means more electoral votes in red states and fewer in blue. john harris is editor and chief of politico. steve mcmahon is a democratic strategist. john harris, it looks like this said the republicans put marco rubio on your ticket next year.
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you got florida down there picking up four electoral votes. two votes, i'm sorry. hispanic states, like arizona, nevada and florida all picking up votes. the southwest gains, that means hispanics gain, that means rubio wins. doesn't that say they need a hispanic from the south? >> it certainly makes the case they cannot continue to be routed among hispanic voters like the last couple of elections. florida always the big prize with an even bigger prize. it's a bigger prize than ohio it seems to me, both of those states are competitive. if florida, there's going to be a lot of attention on florida and if republicans can take that on the table, that would be highly attractive it seems to me. >> i grew up, you did, too, knowing how powerful the empire state was. guess what?
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florida's got as much clout politically, 29 electoral votes, as new york. 31, doesn't it? go ahead. >> in some sets, it's not surprising. in some sense, it's not surprising. because after all, if you could live in florida in the sunshine in the wintertime rather than new york in the cold and snow, who wouldn't want to do that? in another way, it is going to be a challenge for the president as he looks at the map next time. there are six electoral votes that move from states that he carried to states he didn't carry. he had a big margin last time, but it looks like going into this next election, it's going to be pretty polarized. it's going to be a much different kind of playing field, so these things do matter. i think the point you made about hispanic voters is important for republicans. the hispanic vote going two to one for democrats right now. george bush, when he ran, made some inroads with hispanic voters and those have been taken away. marco rubio might solve the problem, but it think it's a much more intractable problem for republicans to solve.
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>> i keep looking ahead to september, late summer 2012. tampa, florida. it's steaming down there. maybe 100 degrees. it's not the most pleasant climate in the world. >> you make it sound great, chris. >> we are all going to be there. the tea party will be there en masse, even if not delegates, they will be there. can they given these changes, run with anybody, any ticket but somebody who appeals to the tea given the fact that the geography shifts south? >> i mean, republican party always nominates conservatives or has for the last several generations that i assume will appeal to the tea party. it's not a big issue to me. they don't have to put a tea partier on the ranks in the ticket. i doubt they would. tea partiers showed in the past midterm they can have clout and nominating contests but when they are on the ballot they don't do as well in the general election.
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yes, they have to mobilize support. i doubt they want the tea party to be the face of the republican party in the face of general elections. >> can they run a couple steps from the regular republican lenlts, mcconnells and boehners, will they lite ght up a crowd? you have to script a guy like romney. >> i think john raise as good point again which is why he's at politico doing this. in the general direction the republicans need to move to the middle. they need the enthusiasm of the tea party to get a candidate nominated. i think there will be a moderate versus a tea party-like candidate in the finals for the republican nomination. the general election is about swing voters and the independents who went 18 points for obama in 2008 and 18 points for the republicans in 2010. so that's going to be where the game will be played out. >> is it possible, john harris, for the democrats to win with the northeast and the west where
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they have a bicoastal power base, don't they have to do well in florida to win the general election? is there a state now that's become outside the northeast midwest sort of continuous states is there a state in the south they need now to win? in the sunbelt where everybody is moving. >> i don't know that they necessarily have to win florida. but what they have, if they don't win those states and they return to traditional historical base is they have a thread the needle strategy. what was so remarkable about barack obama in 2008 is he didn't thread the needle. he expanded the map into florida, north carolina, indiana, parts of the rocky mountain west. that was an extraordinary achievement that he'll be
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hard-pressed to repry indicate based on 2010 results. take those states out of play and you have a thread the needle strategy which requires early locking down of the northeast and california and then fighting over a small number of states. >> can the republican party win on the other hand, by rolling up the anti-hispanic vote in the states where the hispanics live? you have seen white people in the south. a lot of african-americans because the cotton culture, they are more right wing than ever. what stops arizona, nevada and others from voting more republican because there are more hispanics. your thoughts, steve? i think that's what the republicans are up to. your thoughts. >> well, no. if you look at texas, for instance, which picks up four new seats the reason that texas is growing so much is because the hispanic situation is growing there. nevada, colorado, new mexico, too. i think you are seeing a greater divergence with white conservatives voting for republican and whites voting more republican. but that's offset by increasing numbers of hispanics voting go to one for democrats. states like texas are
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competitive now. >> thank you, john harris and steve mcmahon. when we return, let me finish with what i think is behind the loose talk. we are hearing about nullification and cessation in white citizen councils. what's this about going back 150 years ago? why are people doing it? i have a theory. you're watching "hard ball" on msnbc. some models look so mad. maybe it's because their department store makeup is so expensive. simply ageless with olay regenerist serum costs less and it won't glob up in lines and wrinkles. you'll look amazing and happy too. simply ageless, from olay and easy breezy beautiful covergirl.
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let me finish tonight with this incredible fight that sounds like the civil war all over again. why on god's earth, why here in these united states to which we all pledge allegiance are men talking loosely of nullification and cessation? have they no feeling to our country, how it grew, the pain it suffered to grow to this great republic that it is today? there must be something malicious. don't people know the power of the words -- nullification, cessation? the issues are real. they were then and they were solved then. can a state secede from the union, no. why has a governor from texas been talking about it in a recent campaign. was it a cheap way to outflank a republican opponent, a u.s. senator he knew would not talk a as casualry as he would. request a state nullify, overrule an act of congress? can a group of states nullify an act of congress? not according to the constitution. that's why the man to the right in virginia is talking about doing that. the he doing it to make a name for himself on the far right to
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build a movement to undercut federal authority? you have to wonder why the talk is creeping in. why are we hearing voices raised against the federal government as if this were 1860. i ask this as a question for the basic reason that people around me don't talk like this. you don't hear people talk about nullification and cessation. you hear people talk about issues but not whether the union should prevail and if we should go back to something looser than the constitution like a confederacy for lack of a better word. is that the way people talking this way want us to go -- a confederacy? is that their dream. a country of little farms and loosely allied state decisions are made at the town square? if so let's go all the way and get rid of the interstate highways and armies to fight in afghanistan. get rid of the airplanes and cell phones and other complicated st

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